Short Tempered Nurse

Nurses General Nursing


I worked a night shift not too long ago and I was tired and a bit grouchy. I got a little short with a patient and said something I shouldn't. It was nothing major, I didn't swear or call her a name or get abusive. She was not happy about how the evening was going and voiced a complaint. I told her it was no picnic for me either and I wished that I had the help I needed, but I didn't.

I am not usually one to make comments like this, but I have done it twice recently and I don't like it. I usually take pride in the fact that I behave professionally and keep my communication therapeutic. I try to maintain the focus on the patient and their concerns and I don't communicate my frustration with a failing system to my patients. Sometimes it's hard and lately I've been pushed to my limits.


160 Posts

{{{ hugs to you }}}

I can certainly relate to your frustrations ~so many things can shorten our fuses....and mine is not all that long to start off with!

Just remember you are only human :kiss

Long Term Care Columnist / Guide

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

108 Articles; 9,984 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

Sounds to me like you need a vacation!

At the very least, treat yourself to a "mental health" day and do something that makes you happy. If you can afford it, you might want to go to a spa for the day, or have a massage....both of these are miracle workers! But you don't have to do these things to get the benefit of a real mental health whatever you want, as long as it's something you love. matter how difficult a patient may be, DON'T take out your frustrations on him/her.....our "clientele" have their own issues, and it's just not worth the potential damage to your career. I was born with a hot temper myself, but I save it for the break room, or post my observations matter how aggravating a particular pt. may be or how bad a shift I've had. This is a wonderful place to vent, and I know there have been many times I would have blown a gasket if it weren't for this BB!

Good luck to you......and RELAX. You're only one person, you can't do it all.


2,099 Posts

Specializes in Corrections, Psych, Med-Surg.

The main thing that seems to be useful is to have one's MAJOR interests/sources of emotional support/social system completely outside the realm of nursing, and in that way whatever goes on, or doesn't go on in the healthcare workplace in terms of interpersonal interaction (with patients, their families, or with staff) is a relatively insignificant detail.

Easy to say, hard to do.

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,525 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

I hear you. We just discharged a difficult and impatient patient. She would ring, and if you weren't there in tow minutes would ring again, and again. It's hard not to get short when your busy and patients are extra needy.

Hellllllo Nurse, BSN, RN

3 Articles; 3,563 Posts

I found myself making the same type of comments when I was getting burned-out on an overwhelming "sub-acute" (lol, here) rehab unit.

I found that the only thing that helped was a job change and working fewer hours.


411 Posts

Right now in hospice I have a daughter that is very angry that her mother is dying, and she goes from offering me a soft drink at the beginning of the visit to verbalizing every dislike about her mother's care and things get worse as the visit goes on. "Are you done yet? All you nurses do is write when you are here." When I ask about the pain meds she gets angrier as I should know what her mother is taking. I gently explain that sometimes regimen's change or patients may be not taking the right amount to help them etc and she grabs my paper to check my med list and crosses off the ones her mother isn't taking and hands it back to me and that is supposed to be the med review. Very helpful to her mother, huh? Anyway, I just want to walk out and throw something. I don't know if I can bear going back there. I just can't take mean people. I am in the wrong job. I thought I was going to be helping people, not a target for their abuse. And people often take what I say and twist it around and then report it to my supervisor. When I call my supervisor for support she more or less just says suck it up. Just got a possible offer for OR and a super training and orientation. No families or concious patients may be just the thing I need for a while.

chigap-thanks for bringing this topic to light. We are not robots. I, too, try to be professional. Look, even Presidents get in trouble when they open their mouths! They are forgiven and life goes on, why shouldn't we be forgiven for SLIGHT lapses?

We've all been there and done it. We know we should not do it, but sometimes our frustrations slip out. Try to take a short vacation, a mental health day, or on the next day off do something only for yourself. Begin thinking of reducing hours or even a change of scene if possible. We are the only ones who can protect our own sanity and stress levels. Take care and use this board to vent.


799 Posts

Specializes in Step down, ICU, ER, PACU, Amb. Surg.

I am with the short vacation, like a nice 4 day weekend....and do something special for yourself. Sounds like it's time. Been there and done that and I know that it works wonders for the attitude. (((hugs))) :kiss keep your chin up and know that we are behind you 100%

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,525 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.
Originally posted by cargal

I thought I was going to be helping people, not a target for their abuse.

I heard that. Here's my naiveness (sp?) comes in. When I entered nursing school I knew I'd be working weekends and major holidays. But I was silly enough to think I was going to be helping people, that I would be such a good nurse that the patients and family memebers would be kind and greatful.

Boy was I dead wrong about that. :chuckle

live4today, RN

5,099 Posts

Specializes in Community Health Nurse.

Bummer, I know. :o The best advice I received from others to help me chill out was a body massage, foot massage, therapy, time off work to just do nothing but rest and relax, etc. You are getting some very good advice here. Take it from one whose been in your shoes. ((((((hugs))))) :kiss

Speaking of rest........time for me to go tuck myself in for the night. Sweet dreams everyone.

mother/babyRN, RN

11 Articles; 1,587 Posts

Specializes in cardiac, diabetes, OB/GYN.

First, forgive yourself for being human...{{{}}} In the old days we were allowed to do limit setting...Hang in there and try and take some time off if possible, for you! A spa day sounds great...why not nurse the nurse for a change...

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